Breathalyzers in Hampton Roads DUI Cases

Breathalyzers are considered to be reliable for testing if someone is under the influence of alcohol, assuming that the breathalyzer test is taken at the police station. However, many times at a DUI stop, an officer may ask the individual to blow into a portable breathalyzer, which is not considered reliable. This means the portable breathalyzer results will not be admissible in court. It is important to remember that the breathalyzer tests conducted at the police station are admissible though. Over the years, steps have been taken to have machines that are more accurate and give more detailed measurements regarding the alcohol in the individual’s breath.

To learn more about breathalyzers in Hampton Roads DUI cases, reach out to a skilled DUI lawyer today.

Common Misconceptions About Breathalyzers

There are many misconceptions about breathalyzers in Hampton Roads DUI cases. In Hampton Roads, it is common for people to assume that the breathalyzer is not accurate because it is used a lot. However, this is not true.

Many individuals also believe that there is no way to argue once that results come back and that is their blood alcohol level. Under Virginia law, it is clear that it is simply a rebuttable presumption. An individual can always present evidence, as well as the Commonwealth if they believe that the breathalyzer is not accurate.

People should also know that they do not have to submit to a breathalyzer test. However, a person can be convicted for refusing one, which is a separate offense that can affect their driving privilege but it is not a DUI. No matter what law enforcement says, a person can refuse to take the test.

Calibrating Breathalyzers

Breathalyzer machines are required to be calibrated every six months with the Department of Forensic Sciences. If there are any issues with the machine, those are things that need to be disclosed to the defense because that can be considered exculpatory evidence (evidence favorable to the defendant) that could be used to gain an acquittal. A seasoned attorney will investigate to see if, in fact, the breathalyzer was calibrated correctly and within the six months.

Why the Government Relies on Breathalyzers

Without a breath test, without any sort of chemical analysis, DUI convictions would be difficult because many of the things that officers will testify to as indications of intoxication can be explained away. However, the results of a breath test or a blood test are harder to explain. Blood tests tend to be more invasive and most individuals do not necessarily want to give blood. Officers have to go through many more obstacles in order to perform a blood draw and to make sure the medical professionals appear in court to testify.

There is also a time issue because the clock is ticking and, depending on when the individual had their last drink, their blood alcohol level may be going down, which could influence the results. Breathalyzer tests are done quickly. They are conducted at the police station so that law enforcement does not need to subpoena anyone outside of the police department to come to court. In the government’s eyes, they generally give a result that is accurate, which is why the state relies on breathalyzers in Hampton Roads DUI cases.

Challenging Hampton Roads Breathalyzer Results in Court

If an individual can show that the results of a breathalyzer test were inaccurate, they can challenge the results in court. They wouldl need the calibration records of that specific breathalyzer machine, they will need to know if there had been any reported problems with the machine, and if there had been any issues with results during that specific time period. If a person can show that the test was not accurate, that can result in that test being suppressed as invalid.

If you have any questions about breathalyzers in Hampton Roads DUI cases, contact an experienced lawyer.